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Landlords timely delivered itemized damages notice to former tenants

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The date a tenant provides her forwarding address to her landlord triggers the 45-day period the landlord has to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

A small claims judge ordered landlords Lindsay and Kristopher Washmuth to return Johnny and Amy Wiles’ $1,500 security deposit, $800 in attorney fees and other costs after determining the Washmuths’ itemized statement of damages regarding the security deposit was not timely.

The Wileses rented a residence in Lapel from the Washmuths and moved out April 1, 2013, one day after their lease expired. The Wileses refused to provide a new address initially, directing their landlords on April 29, 2013, to send the itemized list to their attorney’s address.

The Wileses sued for return of their deposit. After receiving the Wileses’ new address on the small claims filing, the Washmuths mailed the damages list to them May 28, 2013, seeking more than $1,900 in damages and to keep the security deposit as well as money for unpaid utilities.

The small claims court found that the Wileses had provided the landlords with a permanent address – a P.O. Box in Lapel as well as the address of their attorney. As such, the judge ruled the itemized statement was not timely.

In Lindsay Washmuth and Kristopher Washmuth v. Johnny Wiles and Amy Wiles,  48A04-1310-SC-515, the Court of Appeals reversed, noting that the tenants didn’t provide a mailing address until April 29, which triggered the 45-days under statute the Washmuths had to deliver the itemized damages notice. The notices sent May 28 and June 8 were therefore timely.

“[W]e conclude that, if a tenant immediately provides a forwarding address upon termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession, a landlord has forty-five days to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant. However, if the tenant fails to provide the forwarding address upon termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession, … the landlord ‘is not liable . . . until supplied by the tenant with a mailing address to which to deliver the notice.’ The landlord’s obligation cannot begin to run until after the tenant has supplied a forwarding address. The landlord’s obligation to send the notice is tolled until it receives the forwarding address,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

 
 

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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